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Forgiveness is the root of peace

· Cardinal Turkson in Nagasaki on the anniversary of the atomic bombing ·

To achieve true peace, which is a gift from God, man must walk the path of forgiveness. Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said this during the Mass “for the victims of the atomic bomb and for peace in the world”, which was celebrated in Nagasaki on Friday, 9 August, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.

In the Cathedral, the Cardinal relaunched an appeal for peace made by Pope John Paul II – who was in Nagasaki on 25 and 26 February 1981 – and by Pope John XXIII, in the encyclical Pacem in Terris whos 50th anniversary we are celebrating this year. A Japanese translation of the encyclical was recently published by the Episcopal Commission for Social Issues. Cardinal Turkson celebrated Mass alongside Japanese bishops, and thus concluded his visit to the country of the Rising Sun, which began on 5 August in Hiroshima with his participation in “Ten Days for Peace”, sponsored by the National Episcopal Conference, in memory of the victims of the atomic bombings of 1945. The Cardinal was in Nagasaki on Wednesday, 7 August, and attended an interfaith meeting with Buddhist, Shinto and Protestants leaders, organized by the Nagasaki Interreligious Dialogue for World Peace. The following day Turkson spoke at the interfaith ceremony held at the Ground Zero Park in Nagasaki, where he again offered a prayer for the deceased and those still suffering from the effects of radioactivity: they are called hibakusha and are highly respected, their names being honored alongside the names of the dead during and immediately after the bombing. The memorial was built in place of the atomic explosion and hosts a statue sculpted by Seibo Kitamura.

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